Archive | April, 2013

pasta pasta pasta. or anti-pasta if you choose.

25 Apr

photo 1I can’t BELIEVE today is the end of my second year of graduate school! Thank the universe! This is…..A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE! (inside joke, I’m a weirdo, you’d get it if you knew me). Haha. This has been by far the most grueling semester in graduate school and tonight’s last class and the knowledge that I handed in all of my papers, massive papers, and projects and am officially done is really satisfying. Now onto the important stuff, internship, and more importantly, how the H-E-double hockey sticks am I going to afford to live during internship year! Aye yey yey. One more year left, one more year.

Speaking of one more year, I don’t know if you live in Chicago, or the midwest, but can you believe this weather!? Um it’s almost May for crying out loud! We need some warmth! I feel likephoto 3 not many of my recipes have been anything but warm, hot, comforting food lately because it’s so cold. That also is because I have been in graduate school hell, so something warm and comfy always helps. Funnily enough, the recipe I am sharing with you today I am actually eating the leftovers for breakfast this morning! I am a firm believer that you can eat veggies and meat at any time of the day and it doesn’t have to be in the form of a frittata or breakfast hash to be breakfast food. If you want some kale, acorn squash and sausage for breakfast, go for it! Hmm….that may be a new recipe to try and make, kale and sausage stuffed acorn squash….that sounds delicious!

Also, at the end of this recipe, I want to talk about gluten free pasta types and share some articles I found that are useful. I don’t really eat much pasta, but when I do, like the brussels sprouts and bacon pasta recipe from a week or so ago, I like to make sure it is minimally processed, gluten free pasta. BUT, most gluten free pastas are AWFUL. God awful. They get gummy and mushy in about 2 seconds flat while boiling, and just taste disgusting. So I am listing my two favorites, and also a couple resources on gluten free pasta. Now onto the good stuff, the yummy food!

RUSTIC SAUSAGE AND BACON BOLOGNESE WITH VEG AND ACORN SQUASH

Ingredients:

  • 1 acorn squash
  • 1 lb ground italian sausage, if incased, re move casings
  • 5 slices of super thick cut smoked bacon
  • 1 onion, diced
  • one container of sliced portabella mushrooms
  • one container of fresh spinach (or about 3 handfuls)
  • 1 jar of organic tomato sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 bunch of fresh basil, chiffonade and chopped (about 1/3-1/2 cup this equals out to)
  • salt to taste

photo 2Heat an oven to 350 degrees. Cut your spaghetti squash in half and place fresh side down on an oiled cookie sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the flesh is fork tender. Then you can either fork out all of the squash “meat” or you can fork it around so it’s easy to access and leave it in the shell so it can be eaten right out of the shell.

While the squash is cooking, heat a large skillet and add your ground sausage and diced bacon. cook thoroughly until the sausage is brown and the bacon is to your liking. The bacon I buy is pretty thick and meaty, so I cook it down until it is crisp, but also fleshy. Next, add your diced onion and mushroom and cook down until soft. Add your tomato sauce, black pepper, cayenne photo 4pepper and oregano and cook down all together. Then, chiffonade your basil and dice up your fresh spinach and add that. I chop my spinach up so it doesn’t cook into those long stringy spinachy things. Cook the basil and spinach until still bright green, but tender. Taste and add more salt, oregano, pepper or cayenne if needed. That’s it! SO easy!!!! Dish over your squash or into your squash “bowl” and eat up! The squash acts like the noodles. This is such a flavorful dish that noodles aren’t even really needed! You could eat this even plain or over some fresh kale. That’s how I ate my leftovers this morning, I heated up my half of squash, heated up my chunky rustic bolognese and then added some fresh kale to it. YUM!

NOW onto pasta. Gluten free pasta is a real pain sometimes. It’s taken me many messed up mac and cheese and spaghetti recipes to find the right ones that actually work. I try and make spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles, but sometimes I eat pasta, and my friends ate this bolognese over pasta, so I want to make sure they are getting healthy food in them as well! Spaghetti squash is super easy and zucchini noodles are made via the link below. These pastas are minimally processed and more importantly, I’ve found that they do NOT turn into a mushy mess like other gluten free and brown rice pastas do.

photo 1Trader Joe’s brown rice penne, is THE only brown rice pasta I have found that doesn’t crumble into a mushy mess when you cook it. This is great because it can be used for mac and cheese recipes or baked vegetable ziti, or whatever have you. Pasta salads with fresh veggies, I mean any place where you would use normal pasta as a shape. Trader Joe’s corn spaghetti is also not bad. I have found that corn pasta tastes exactly like regular pasta and it also does not cook up into a mushy mess. Trader Joe’s and Archer Farms Organics at Target are the easiest ones to get. I’ve tried brands from Whole Foods and most of them are mush.

DO NOT BUY TINKYADA pasta. That stuff is crap. Pure crap. It goes from not cooked to complete gummy mushy nastiness in literally 3 seconds. So if you need and want to eat pasta, get these brands! BUT my ALL TIME FAVORITE gluten free pasta is the Quinoa brand blended pasta. It is in an aqua box and there are a large variety of shapes. It is a quinoa blend and they sell it at Whole Foods, Mariano’s, I’m sure other grocery stores as well. It is absolutely the best tasting and best made pasta.

I’ve heard Cappellos gluten free pasta is good and even a couple people in the paleo world havephoto 2 tried it and liked it. It’s crazy expensive, though, and I’ve found in Chicago that nowhere sells it so I’d have to order it online. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’ve heard it’s fantastic. Below are links to some gluten free pasta options, a guide to cooking gluten free pasta and the Cappellos website. Eat well, healthy and enjoy! We all indulge sometimes, so make sure it’s at least gluten free and healthy! Eat up, buttercup!

http://cappellosglutenfree.com/home

http://www.bonappetit.com/blogsandforums/blogs/consciouscook/2010/01/top-3-gluten-free-pasta-brands.html

http://www.livestrong.com/article/67786-glutenfree-pasta/

http://nomnompaleo.com/post/5695132949/zucchini-spaghetti-zoodles-meatballs

Advertisements

shaved brussels sprout and bacon gluten free pasta

21 Apr

photo 1Isn’t it crazy how time escapes you!? This insanely grueling semester is FINALLY over. (Well…..it’s over next week, but I am 97% done with my massive paper due, just have to edit it and turn it in, so I mean I consider myself done haha!) This semester has taken over so much of my time that I haven’t exactly been amazing with the blog. I have so many recipes sitting in the wings and this is one of them! This is amazingly easy and would actually probably even been good if made with spaghetti squash or zucchini noddles. If anyone has a good idea or tool they use to make zucchini noodles, send it my way because I’ve been looking for one for a while!

I am so pumped this semester is over. I can’t WAIT to intern and be done with grad school. There are lots of little infants and toddlers who need my help! (Entire superwoman Developmental Therapist with a hot pink cape and aqua knee high boots). I mean that’s the plan, right?! Do what you love and I am finally almost there to be finally doing what I love. The universe is amazing.

So anyways…the good stuff, the food. Here is a really yummy recipe that I know you’ll love and it’s super easy! I made it for lunch one day and ate it for a couple more meals. You know me…. with with and graduate school, I seriously need to make sure I have food that is versatile for many meals! Also, have you ever heard of shaved brussels sprouts!? I got a bag of them at Trader Joe’s. You can use them for salads and for this recipe! So awesome and then you don’t have to chop and shred them yourself!

SHAVED BRUSSELS SPROUT AND BACON PASTA

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound brussels sprouts
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil
  • 6 slices bacon, cubed (or use pancetta if you’d like)
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 pound spaghetti GLUTEN FREE (the quinoa corn blend is amazing)
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • salt and pepper
  • parmesan cheese, fresh grated

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Season generously with salt. Grab your bag of brussels sprouts, if you want to use regular ones and shred them yourself, trim the ends off of the brussels sprouts and remove the toughest outer leaves. Shred them in a food processor, using the slicing attachment (not the normal chopping blade). You can also slice them as thin as possible with a knife.

Heat a large skillet pan over medium-high heat and add the olive oil or coconut oil. Add the bacon and cook until fairly crispy and cooked through.photo 2 Clear some space in the middle of the pan and add the shallots and garlic. (If you don’t have enough room in your pan to create space, you can remove the pancetta with a slotted spoon and add it back in when you add the sprouts.) Cook until the shallots are soft. While the shallots are cooking, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente.

Add the brussels sprouts and the chicken broth to the large skillet, season with salt and pepper, and toss all of the ingredients together. Cook, tossing occasionally, until the brussels sprouts are tender but not too soft, about 5 minutes.

When the pasta is finished cooking, drain and add it to the skillet. You can add a splash of the pasta water (or more broth) if the mixture seems dry. Add the pine nuts, toss everything together, salt and pepper to taste, and serve. NOTE: You can certainly add some freshly grated parmesan on top. We also think a couple of tablespoons of balsamic vinegar (added with the brussels sprouts) would be nice.

healthy smoothie and leftover ham stewy soup

18 Apr

photo 1I can’t believe this semester is almost over. if you have ever been in graduate school, you will know how grueling it is. The term “poor graduate school student” really is true. Even if you are working full-time and going to graduate school, like I am, you still spend every dime you have to make sure that you can pave your way. With being in Hell, oops, I mean class, 3 nights a week, and trying to fit in homework and working out (which dangit, isn’t happening as much as I would like lately) in, and working full-time, I try and make meals that I can eat for a few days, or even for a full week. I prep all the berries I want to eat for the week, and any veggies, and make meals that I can eat throughout the week on Sundays when I can. This may not be the funniest post I’ve written, but it has been QUITE the semester. I just turned in two papers and am waiting on edits for my last paper. Then I can break lose and have fun again. SO….as I was saying, in order to make sure I have healthy, or relatively healthy food for the week, I make meals that are easy to eat for the week. That was the inspiration for this stewy soup! I also had saved the ham bone from Easter (this recipe was made closer to Easter than I am posting it now) and wanted to make sure to utilize all of that delicious meat and flavor from it! This soup is super yummy, I hope you like it and it makes a ton!

SPINACH COCONUT OIL AND BERRY SMOOTHIE

  • 2 handfuls of fresh spinach
  • 8 strawberries, tops removed, use more if you’d like
  • 2 cutie tangerines or 1 large orange
  • 1.5 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon fresh, local honey
  • you can add frozen blueberries or another frozen fruit if you like

This is SUPER easy. Add it all to the blender and blend away! You can add more coconut oil, or even coconut water if you need more liquid. This is aphoto 2 super fast, easy and yummy snack. The benefits of coconut oil are numerous. You can use it not only to eat, but as a conditioner for your hair, you can take a spoonful by mouth a day to aid digestion and skin and hair growth and strength, you can use it as facial lotion, body lotion, really you can use coconut oil for anything! LOVE it!

HAM AND BEAN STEWY SOUP WITH FRESH SPINACH

  • mirepoix (this is onion, celery and carrot diced up small. you can cut your own or trader joe’s and other stores have containers of it now!)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • your ham bone with all that yummy ham left on it
  • 2-3 quarts of chicken stock or vegetable stock (I had my own frozen that I had made, but any organic would do well)
  • 1 can of garbanzo beans
  • 1 can of cannellini beans
  • 1 can of black beans or another can or cannellini beans
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme (if you don’t like thyme, omit this, but you can’t really taste it in the soup, it just adds something special)
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste

photo 3This may be the EASIEST soupy stewy yummy dish to make. It smells and tastes AMAZING. In a large pot, add your coconut oil and melt on medium to high heat. Next, add your mirepoix mixture and cook until the veggies are soft. Add 1 tablespoon of black pepper. Next, add your ham bone, then add your stock. The stock should cover the ham bone completely. Use your discretion. you may need two quarts, you may need 3, I needed 2 and a half to do this. Next, rinse and drain all of your beans and add them to the soup. Add all of your spices and bring to a boil. NOTE: do NOT add your salt and pepper to taste yet, the ham is salty, so you very well may not need more salt. Cook this down for 3-4 hours. You’ll notice it is done because all of the ham will be off the bones, and you will have to take the bones out. The beans will also make this soup rich and thick. It’s really delicious. Lastly, add your spinach. Now if you are like me and was putting this in the fridge right away for a later meal, add the fresh spinach and just stir it in, let the soup cool and put it in the fridge. No need to cook the spinach because it’ll get wilty and yucky. The fresh spinach will cook nicely when you reheat it. If you ARE serving this right away, then cook the spinach in the soup until it is bright green and a little wilty, but not mushy and gross. Serve up your soup and bowls and enjoy!

lots of spring veggies and a big ol’ ham

14 Apr

photo 2Easter Sunday was one of my favorite holidays this year. I got to spend it with my “family” away from my family. My best friend, her parents, and others all came over for dinner, after church, and I cooked a giant spread. It has been really nice having a family away from my family. I’ve always considered my friends my family and I am super grateful for them, the far and near ones. Holidays that I get to spend with them are even more special. This is the first Easter that really felt like Easter in a long time and it was so awesome. Nothing better than cooking a bunch of yummy veggies and big fat old ham to fill everyone’s tummies and to just sit and laugh and share stories. I couldn’t have asked for a better Easter.

NOW, onto the GOOD stuff. The food. I made a honey and orange glazed ham, roastedphoto 1 asparagus with coconut oil and lemon zest, glazed carrots, cheesy potatoes (which I WON’T post on here because they are NOT totally healthy and people will kill me haha 😉 if you want the recipe, just ask), and fresh green beans with bacon and balsamic. Don’t ask me HOW everything came out on time, but it did. BOO YAH! (and yes, I just said BOO YAH…..screw all that BOOM! stuff!) All of these recipes are REALLY easy. You can make these separately as side dishes as the season goes on and produce becomes fresher and more abundant!

ORANGE AND HONEY GLAZED HAM

  • one large ham, spiral cut, organic if possible, depends on your pricing because they can get expensive
  • 2 large oranges
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup orange juice, or squeeze your own
  • zest from one orange
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

Turn your oven onto 275 degrees, or follow the packaging instructions for your ham. Most spiral hams are fully cooked already, or partially cooked sophoto 2 you are basically reheating it and cooking it some more. In a small bowl, mix all of the ingredients for your glaze, and slice one of your oranges into thin slices, then zest the other and juice it into the glaze mixture. Place the slices of orange in-between the ham slices every few cuts, then pour some of the glaze onto the meat. Place in the oven in a roasting pan and cook for an hour and a half, or per your instructions. Every half hour, reglaze the ham until it is nice and bright pink, cooked through, and ready to eat!

ROASTED ASPARAGUS WITH COCONUT OIL AND LEMON ZEST

  • 2 bunches of fresh asparagus, green, white or purple (I used green)
  • one lemon
  • kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil melted

photo 4Heat your oven to 350 degrees, (this can be done after the ham is cooked since the hame is still hot and the asparagus will cook fast. Or if making this as a side dish for another meal, and this is good with EVERY meal, then rock on and just go for it! Rinse and trim your asparagus. The easiest way to do this is to bend one piece of asparagus and see where it snaps. Then place them all on a cutting board and cut them all across that line so the ends are removed on all of them. I find no need to snap each one separately, they all tend to snap in about the same spot, easy peasy. Put them on a cookie sheet and drizzle the coconut oil over them. sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper and toss around to coat evenly. Roast in the oven for about ten minutes and then watch them. I like mine where they are bright green, the tips are a little roasted and they are nice and snappy still. After they come out of the oven, juice the lemon on top and then zest the lemon on top. SUBLIME.

GLAZED CARROTS

  • 2 lbs of baby carrots, or regular carrots washed and cut
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 stick of grassfed butter
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Heat a pot full of salted water and toss your carrots in. Boil until they are al dente. Drain them. Next take the same pot and add your coconut oil andphoto 1 butter, melt it down, then add the brown sugar and pepper. This will make a nice glaze sauce. Toss your carrots in and cook them a couple minutes longer in the glaze to coat them. Growing up, we always made these with just butter, but I decided to twist it and use coconut oil as the main base, they were delicious and coconut oil is SO good for you. There are so many amazing benefits of coconut oil so adding it into your cooking is a really great idea and adds lots of flavor.

NOTE: There are a lot of articles going on about baby carrots and how they are washed in chlorine before they are packaged. Sometimes, when trying to save money and time, baby carrots are the way to go, but most of the time, I try to use real carrots. Give real carrots a try. You know what I mean….those long orange ones you have to cut and peel yourself….go for it. AND you don’t even need to peel them. Keep that peel on them. It’s good for you! Just scrub them down well!

GREEN BEANS WITH BALSAMIC AND BACON

  • 1 lb fresh french cut green beans
  • 1 lb bacon, you know what I use, that dang good stuff from Whole Foods, but use what you like
  • splash of balsamic
  • black pepper

photo 3Heat up a large skillet. Cut your bacon into cubes and toss in the skillet. Cook the bacon until nice and cooked through and crisp, leaving all of that amazing bacon fat behind. Toss in your green beans and give it all a nice stir. Tongs are amazing for this as you can grab and toss things together. Add the pepper, to your eye ball, about a pinch, but do not ADD salt because you will be adding the vinegar, and the bacon is salty. This will be way too much salt if you add extra salt to this recipe. Cook the beans until BRIGHT green and still crisp. Serve.

Cinderle's Blog

Just another WordPress.com weblog

chicagoplayproject

Just another WordPress.com site

oliveyounannyblog

Just another WordPress.com site

In Pitch

Words from a working girl

ProKine Performance

Move like a PRO.

Fit For Real Life

Body. Mind. Movement.

%d bloggers like this: